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Exemptions from school fees are now available

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Exemptions from school fees are now available

Exemptions from school fees are now available.A growing number of South African parents struggle with school fees due to rising unemployment and increased living costs, impacting public school budgets.

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Fee Categories in Basic Education

Basic education segregates schools into fee-paying and non-fee-paying categories. Quintiles 4 and 5 schools require fees, while Quintiles 1-3, in economically challenged areas, do not.

Communication and Financial Hurdles

Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga emphasizes open communication between parents and schools regarding financial challenges, urging proactive discussions before fee issues arise.

Seeking Fee Exemptions| A Guideline

Section 39 of the South African Schools Act outlines a process for fee exemption, encouraging parents facing financial constraints to apply to the School Governing Body (SGB) for conditional, partial, or full exemptions.

School Responsibilities and Timely Decisions

Public schools are obligated to inform parents about fee exemption criteria and assist in the application process. The SGB must provide a written decision within 7 days of assessing the application.

Appeal Process

Parents dissatisfied with exemption decisions can appeal to the Head of Department within 30 days. Public schools must support parents in lodging appeals.

Active Participation and Legal Safeguards

Parents’ active involvement in school meetings discussing fees and exemption criteria is crucial. Legal provisions prevent schools from denying access, withholding reports, or certificates due to outstanding fees.

Conclusion

Understanding and utilizing fee exemption mechanisms ensures every child, regardless of family finances, has equal access to quality education in South Africa. Parents are urged to engage in open communication and explore available avenues for financial relief.

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Funza Lushaka Teaching Bursaries CUT By Department

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Funza Lushaka Teaching Bursaries CUT By Department

Funza Lushaka Teaching Bursaries CUT By Department. South Africa education system faces a critical shortage of teachers, particularly in areas like the foundation phase where students are taught fundamental skills like reading. However, recent budget cuts have led to reduced funding for teaching bursaries, potentially impacting the number of new teachers entering the profession.

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The Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme

The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme plays a crucial role in encouraging young people to pursue teaching careers by providing comprehensive bursaries for teaching qualifications. These bursaries cover Bachelor of Education (BEd) and Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) courses at all 26 public universities in South Africa.

One of the key objectives of the Funza Lushaka bursaries is to address critical shortages of teachers in specific subject areas. However, due to budget constraints imposed by the National Treasury, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has announced a reduction in the number of bursaries awarded through the programme, leading to concerns about the impact on teacher production.

Impact of Budget Cut

The reduction in Funza Lushaka bursaries is a result of broader budget cuts affecting the education sector. According to DBE Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga, these cuts were necessary to manage financial constraints. Additionally, the rising cost of university tuition has further limited the number of bursaries available to prospective teaching students.

Concerns Raised by NAPTOSA

The National Professional Teacher Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) has strongly criticized the DBE’s decision to reduce funding for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme. NAPTOSA Executive Director Basil Manuel has expressed concern over the mismatch between the types of teachers being produced and the specific needs of the education system.

Manuel highlights the shortage of foundation phase teachers (Grades 1 to 3) as a particular area of concern. He emphasizes the importance of specialized training for teachers in the foundation phase, especially in areas like reading instruction. Manuel argues that without proper training, teachers may struggle to meet the needs of young learners, potentially contributing to high levels of illiteracy.

Future Priorities

Despite the budget cuts, Mhlanga has stated that the DBE remains committed to addressing critical teacher shortages, particularly in the foundation phase, Mathematics, and mother-tongue teaching. The department plans to prioritize funding to produce teachers in these areas, acknowledging their importance in improving educational outcomes.

However, NAPTOSA has raised concerns about the availability of teachers qualified to teach in mother-tongue languages, particularly in the foundation phase. Manuel warns that without sufficient training for teachers in these areas, South Africa may struggle to improve literacy rates, especially among young learners.

Conclusion

The reduction in funding for the Funza Lushaka Bursary Scheme is likely to have significant implications for the education sector in South Africa, particularly in addressing critical teacher shortages. The decision has sparked debate about the importance of specialized teacher training, especially in areas crucial for early childhood development and literacy.

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